Our background

Elisabetta Passafaro

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

We’re a young company with a long past, and a small team with a big heart. Here, we share the story of how it all began... Did you know that the Belgian Chocolate Makers company is born in the course of a complicated period, during the corona crisis and the first Belgian lockdown?
"The coronavirus pandemic has intensified what was already a challenging time, making the need for self-expression ever more vital. Lockdown created a break in my routine that forced me to focus on my long-term goals and this is the reason why I decided to launch my own chocolate brand."
Elisabetta Passafaro

How an Italian teenager decide to become a chocolate maker in Belgium?

Elisabetta Passafaro is our chef chocolatier. At 24 years old only, she already launched two stores, a training centre and two workshops in the heart of Brussels. She created her own chocolate brand, Chocomeli, and even her own chocolate selection using pure origin cacao from Congo and Philippines. Now she starts to expand her business outside Belgium.
Our chocolate maker is graduated from Accademia Maestri Cioccolatieri Italiani.
At the end of her training session, she has been awarded Master 2018 with an amazing 94/100 notation. During her studies, she traveled abroad and made an incredible, exciting and educational journey in Brazil that take her through the world of cocoa. She talked to the cocoa growers and producers, slept in the jungle, share meals with the Amazons and enjoyed some great chocolate tastings with many South American researchers. It is precisely during this experience that Elisabetta realized that chocolate was her passion and tattooed a big cocoa pod on her shoulder!
We are a great team of a dozen of passionate hard workers.
Together, in 2023, we have generated a net turnover of 1.200.000 euros !
Elisabetta Passafaro

From an Erasmus internship to a success story in Brussels...

Back to Europe, Elisabetta wanted to learn more about Belgian chocolate. She involved herself in an Erasmus+ internship program and, mid 2018, she arrived in Belgium. She already had an extensive experience in chocolate making and she did her internship at the Zaabar chocolaterie.
Does destiny exist?
Zaabar was declared bankrupted a few days before the first lock down. End of March 2020, when three and a half billion people were confined in some way around the planet, Elisabetta lost her job but stayed in Belgium and turned her life into a big challenge. She decided to setup a new company, to launch Chocomeli, her own chocolate brand, and to share her true passion for handmade chocolate.
Elisabetta then partnered with Patricia and Stéphane, two colleagues met at Zaabar chocolaterie. All together, they started to build an exciting and promising challenge. Patricia managed several stores in the past and she is also graduated in pastry. Stéphane has a long experience of international business management. Within a few days, they found a suitable building in the heart of Brussels to launch their first chocolate store.
Using their own savings, and without investors, they setup the company in a few days. The administrative and financial paperwork having been sorted out, Elisabetta, Patricia and Stéphane committed to build a sustainable business with a legacy they could be proud of. That’s where our 100% handmade in Brussels promise comes in. From the very first days, they received a great support from ING bank, Grenke and Finance Brussels. The moment of truth arrived and, within a few weeks, they created Chocomeli, their own brand. The small team learned quickly about overcoming adversity as they had to go thru a lot of issues but at the end...

The adventure finally became a true challenge...

The dream came true on the 8th of June 2020 when their first store opened in the heart of Brussels!
With everything ready to go, the small team bit the bullet and ordered 4 tons of cocoa in one go - without having any customers! (Truth be told, they were a little scared they’d have to eat the chocolate themselves.) Today, more than three year after, business is really good and together, in 2023, we have generated a turnover of 1.200.000 euros!
Thanks to our loyal partners and happy clients, The Belgian Chocolate Makers is growing fast! Using our e-commerce website we’re selling handmade, premium and tasty Belgian chocolate in more than 35 countries and, due to popular demand, we have also started to sell our homemade macarons and ice creams.

In just 3 years our turnover hits 1.200.000 €!

Figures above are VAT excluded.
We’re working hard towards our sustainability goals and we’re supporting the farmers of the plantations where come from the cocoa beans used to produce our premium Belgian chocolates.
Honestly our ambition is huge so our effort should be even bigger!
Elisabetta Passafaro

We are the only certified handcraft chocolate maker in the city of Brussels.

At The Belgian Chocolate Makers, our handmade and honest chocolate is produced by our chocolate makers, Elisabetta Passafaro, Patricia Lafargue and Charlotte Rahier. Don't look for industrial chocolates in our store, we don't have any! We are one of the very few true artisan chocolate makers in Brussels; far away from the candies stores of Grand'Place or even the numerous industrial brands who pretend to be local. Be careful also about those who are making handcraft chocolates but use industrial cacao... In fact, we are the only certified handcraft chocolate maker within the city of Brussels.
This important information can be easily checked from the official website www.lesartisans.be.
This label gives the craftsmen who ask for it a legal recognition of their trade. It confirms the authentic character of their activity, the manual aspect of the work and the craft know-how. Any request for recognition can be submitted to the Artisans Commission from FPS Economy. Since its creation in 2016, this label has already listed more than 1100 craftsmen in Belgium including The Belgian Chocolate Makers!

Meet a few members of our team!

Whatever you do, be different. That was the advice we got when we started, and we can’t think of better advice for an entrepreneur. If you’re different, you will stand out. We are a small team of chocolate lovers. We are passionate by sustainable and traceable cacao. Our business is clearly women-managed but we also have a few men amongst us!
To innovate, and to do anything successfully in business, you need to have people of different backgrounds, and people who think differently when they are looking at the same situation you are, with a different set of eyes. In our company, we can rely on many different backgrounds and nationalities: French, Italian, Tunisian, Chinese, Chilian, Indian and of course Belgian associates.

How we select, import and roast our cacao beans.

At the origin of the taste, there is the bean, and all the work that lets explode all its flavors. From roasting to conching, here is the birth of aromas. We partner with another certified artisan chocolatier, François Deremiens, and a local and vibrant cacao importator, Silva Cacao, to explore and propose to our clients the finest and original beans from all over the world. From the Big Monkeys Valley in Congo to the Tsachilas indians villages in Ecuador, we are selecting some particular and rares cocoa beans. A discovery of nuances and colors in the heart of plantations. The roasting is made by François and his team at his factory located in Jamoigne (Belgium) and then the final product is handcrafted in our Brussels stores.
We could buy our chocolate from industrial firms like Valhrona, Puratos or Barry Callebaut. After all, many of the chocolate makers around us do that and still advertise themselves as artisans... We prefer to protect our planet and so, we partner with François Deremiens, another certified artisan chocolatier, and a local importator, Silva Cacao.
Thanks to our great partners we can work with specialty cacao with an identity, directly sourced from its origins, while taking care of flavour, forests, farmers and the future.
François Deremiens, same as our chocolate makers, is an autodidact in the world of chocolate and we love that! From a passion, from a hobby to the beginning, he made it his job. From a small workshop of 18m² in 2005, his company has expanded to operate on two workshops of about 400m². In 2013, he was taken over by Gault et Millau among the 25 best chocolatiers in Belgium and among the 25 best pastry chefs in Belgium. And in 2016, among the 10 best chocolatiers and the 10 best pastry chefs. We are proud to partner with these great people to create our chocolates and to select the best cocoa beans to use for our production.
Elisabetta Passafaro

From the macarons to the ice creams, everything is 100% homemade!

Our macarons are handcrafted and made using the finest ingredients. They are very delicious and all gluten free. We make our sweet and savoury macaroons in the purest artisanal tradition. All our macaroons and ganaches are made "in house" with fresh, quality, natural products and without any additives, artificial flavours or taste enhancers.
Our ice creams and sorbets are also handmade with high quality ingredient by Marco Pacciti in Uccle. In his authentic ice cream bar, you can discover him, a true master ice cream maker, preparing his recipes almost in front of you. A recipe prepared for generations as in the past, like our good grandmother's recipes. Marco's ice creams are distinguished by their exclusive composition of whole milk, cream and egg yolks. An artisan ice cream maker who puts all his love for the product at your service and that's exactly why we selected him for our ice creams and sorbets.
  • Our staff are genuine chocolate makers. Our production is 100% local and handcrafted.
  • In our stores, you can discover everything our chocolate makers do. You can enjoy their creativity and know how.
  • We are the only true certified artisan chocolate maker in the city of Brussels !
  • We work with chocolate made from sustainable and traceable cacao only. We do not use industrial chocolate !
  • We guarantee 100% traceable supply chain for the cacao you will use and taste.
  • The cacao beans we buy does not involve deforestation or child work and provide a good level of revenue to the farmers.
  • We are not part of an industrial group but a true artisan chocolate maker.
In store, to complete our handmade chocolate collection, we also propose to our clients some homemade sweet things:
  • Homemade macarons with the finest natural ingredients.
  • Delicious Brussels waffles homemade with the best ingredients and cooked at the request.
  • Natural and bio fruit juices from Belgium.
  • Awesome artisanal ice creams and sorbets produced with the finest natural ingredients.
Everything 100% natural. Everything 100% homemade with passion in Brussels.

After Brussels, we are planning to open a store in Montreal.

We started our activity and opened our first store in the heart of Brussels in mid 2020. One year after, we needed to push the walls a bit so we have launched our workshop area in the adjacent building and we decided to open it to our clients on a daily basis. We wanted our visitors to make some chocolates with us and explore the origins of our cacao. This concept of chocolate workshop became very popular after a few months. In 2021, we welcomed 2.500 participants in our chocolate workshops. In 2022, they were 7.000 participants. In 2023, we have celebrated our 18.000th participant !
Currently, we are welcoming an average of 500 participants every week.
End of 2022, we opened another store in the center of Brussels and we developed the same concept of store combined with a workshop opened daily to our visitors. The success of the second location at Place Royale happened immediately.
We have now a great envy to explore the world and to install our brand in a few countries. It becomes obvious that we need to bring our brand abroad. We learned a lot from our e-commerce sale results: Canadian residents are clearly one of our best clients abroad. With these figures in mind and other considerations, we took the decision that our third store should be located in Canada, and especially in Montréal.
Elisabetta Passafaro

Thanks to all who help us to make our project a beautiful reality.

We have a few enemies within the small world of Belgian chocolate makers, especially the industrial chocolate makers who pretend to produce handcrafted chocolates (They are surrounding us in the heart of Brussels city!...). We always express loudly what we think about their greenwashing methods so our relationships with them are a bit tense.
We are a true artisan chocolatier and you can notice it when you enter our stores and workshops. Let us remind you a few things.
  • A true artisan is not owned by banks, pension funds or multinational corporations such as Nestlé.
  • A true artisan does not multiply the number of its stores to infinity.
  • A true artisan does not ask East Europe low cost employees to produce his chocolates and pack them in expensive carton boxes.
  • A true artisan does not have more than 20 employees and is not just present at work when cameras and micros are near.
  • A true artisan got a real how-know and his work is manual and authentic.
  • A true artisan does not make greenwashing but is convinced by what he is doing to protect our planet.
Check who is certified to be a true artisan chocolate maker using the official website www.lesartisans.be.
You will be surprised, we are the only true certified artisan chocolatier within Brussels city.
True facts are not always appreciated!
Most of the time, the revenge of our competitors is limited to put fake poor reviews about our business on Google...
We can also count on a huge amount of supporters! There are the precious people who helped us a lot to achieve our goals and set up our business model so quickly. We wish to give a big thank you to all who help getting The Belgian Chocolate Makers off the ground. Their support and efforts for our new business certainly contributed a lot to our success, and we want to thank them for that, especially all our loyal partners and happy clients. Thank you for being a part of our family! We are very grateful for your continued patronage because we wouldn’t be here without our loyal customers. They could have chosen any other chocolate makers, but we appreciate that they have stuck with us.
Thank you very much!
We wish to express a big thank you as well to Finance Brussels for helping our development. We wish to show courtesy to the ING Business team, who has always been on our side since the beginning of our adventure, and Grenke, who financed a big part of our machinery costs. It was really challenging for both of them to be confident in our project especially during this complicated lockdown period but they have been very reactive and so helpful.
Thanks a lot to all who helped us to make our project a reality and who continue to fuel our passion every day!
You're just amazing!
Thank you!